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As Marianne Vos (Jumbo-Visma) crossed the line, her face portrayed deeper emotion than the usual excitement of winning a stage of the Giro Donne. Vos is known for reacting to each of her 234 plus wins like it was her first. But her 29th Giro Donne stage win was more significant than just a win in a bike race.
“Of course, it is incredible to win 29 times, when you still can do your passion and do what you love. It is so strange to lose Jolien Verschueren this week due to cancer,” Vos said at the finish. She was clearly emotional, nearly in tears.
Verschueren, Belgian cyclocross talent, lost her battle with cancer on Thursday, a few days before Vos won the third stage of the Giro Donne. The 31-year old had been battling brain cancer for three years and continued to race against Vos throughout the fight.
“We are here and we think we suffer, but there is so much more in life. I thought about her, and that gave me extra power, I knew how dedicated she was, and I wanted to do a special race for her.”Vos said after the stage
Vos was part of a strong four-rider breakaway with Lucinda Brand (Trek-Segafredo), Liane Lippert (Team DSM), and Elise Chabbey (Canyon-SRAM). Cyclocross world champion Brand proved the only danger to Vos for the win, a fitting end to the day given Vos’ stage dedication.
Brand led out the sprint to the line and Vos overtook the Trek-Segafredo rider on the final finishing straight. Lippert and Chabbey finished third and fourth, respectively. Lisa Brennauer (Ceratizit-WNT) won the bunch sprint for fifth with the current Giro Donne leader Anna van der Breggen (SD Worx) finishing safely in the bunch.
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